Hardwood industry executives recently joined Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding to highlight the state's commitment to its flourishing hardwoods industry, according to a release from Gov. Tom Wolf's office.
Pennsylvania’s abundant forests have made the state a leader in the production and exportation of hardwood lumber, which contributes more than $39.1 billion each year to the state’s economy, Redding said.
The industry directly employs more than 69,000 residents, about 10% of the state’s manufacturing workforce.
Gov. Tom Wolf commissioned an economic impact report in 2018 that led to the proposal and funding for 2019’s Pennsylvania Farm Bill. Under the farm bill, $37.2 million has been invested into Pennsylvania agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Specialty Crop Block Grant program was created.
The Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program provided funding to allow the Hardwoods Development Council and industry partners to implement projects aimed at workforce development through training and recruiting, promoting the benefits of well managed working forests and educating students, consumers and builders on the importance of using real Pennsylvania hardwood.
“Whether it is helping bolster a critical industry or helping filter our air and drinking water, Pennsylvania forests and the hardwoods within them, are an important part of our natural resources and have a tremendous impact on our daily lives,” said Matthew Keefer, assistant state forester at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Today, we highlight this administration’s efforts to prioritize conserving and sustaining forests, while also providing valuable hardwood commercial opportunities. Through adequate planning and sustainable forestry practices we can continue to be a leader in forest recreation and hardwoods commerce.”
Conestoga Wood Specialties started manufacturing cabinet doors and wood components in a family garage in 1964. Today, the company employs more than 900 people, said Anthony Hahn, the company's CEO.
“We are extremely pleased that the Department of Agriculture continues to make substantial investments in the forests of Pennsylvania and considers them to be an invaluable asset, key to both the economic and the environmental health of the Commonwealth,” he said.
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